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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • Take it back to the service department and ask them to look at the torque converter. My 2010 had the same issues as I stated above in my previous email. I have a 2010 loaner and I can't believe the pick up it has so it is obvious to me that my MDX had problems since I bought it. It is very disappointing but the Acura service department has been outstanding trying to find the issues and give me a loaner until the torque converter arrives next week. I have had the loaner for over two weeks at no charge. This is customer service.

    Good Luck.
  • Thanks acuraowner5. I am going to do that, but in my case the dealership was absolutely certain that there is no issue! I actually requested another MDX owner to drive mine and he agreed that there is a drag. I do not know how to convince the dealership since they refuse to admit that it is a transmission issue. I may have to try another dealership.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Acelerating from a stop you might have unintentionally engaged "hill-hold". Accelerating (re-accelerating) to change lanes might be the built-in 1-2 second upshift/downshift delay/hesitation enforced via DBW.
  • Thanks DBW. Acura customer support is arranging for some one to test drive our MDX. I will post what they got to say.
  • Thank god I found this post. We own a 2004 MDX with 150,000 miles highway miles. No stop and go or rush hour driving- my wife's commute is an easy 45 minute highway shot with no traffic. About 3 months ago we began experiencing many of the same issues detailed on this post: delay in engaging, sudden rpm loss, etc. We use a reliable local mechanic who is awesome and has serviced all our vehicles. We over service our cars like others here have detailed. In other words we buy "quality" vehicles, service them and historically have had few if any major problems.
    This is our first and last Acura. For years, actually decades I owned Hondas and routinely put 200,000 miles plus on them. All were 4 cylinders. One of our mid 1980's Acccord we sold with 450,000 miles on it, still running strong.
    My wife took her MDX to the dealership right around the corner that we have used for some service- but we all know why most of us use reliable repair shops instead of dealerships. Who wants to spend $650 on basic service that a reliable independent will do for $350 or $400??? And when all is said and done, many here who have paid dealership rates to maintain their Acura's have been abandoned by the same people they've been feeding, who go on to act as if their transmission failure is a one time, unexpected, bad luck issue.
    Our local dealership is right in the line with the others chronicled here: "gee that's too bad". "we can replace it for $6,000". All spoken as if they've never seen this issue before and they're doing you a favor.
    Interesting side note: my wife's business partner drives the same exact vehicle with 100,000 miles and guess what- he started having transmission slippage and engagement issues about a month ago. Any one want to guess what he's going to be told by the dealership??
    Clearly the drivetrain/transmissions in these vehicles are flawed. I'm shocked that we haven't heard more "disgruntled" reviews of Acura products. We intend to document our dismay and outrage at a $45,000 vehicle having this type of failure. Unacceptable and to the fellow who made it sound like any car is toast after 100,000 miles- obviously you haven't driven many cars. We're mid 50 year olds and have had owned Toyota & Hondas that have ALL gone hundreds of thousands with minor and normal wear and tear repair.
    What to do about it? First my wife is going to tell the dealer that she has no intention of paying them for a major replacement/repair that is clearly something they are well aware of and doing nothing about. Second, we'll dump our car and make a point of letting Honda and Accura know that it will be our last with their brand name on it. Third, we'll do our very best to make other consumers we know aware of our experience- and we both deal with hundreds of upscale clients in our line of work.
    Reliability is the cornerstone of Honda's success. Their vehicles are overpriced as we all know. The tradeoff is most knowledgeable consumers will pay a little more upfront to avoid being gouged by repairs over the life of the vehicle. This is a bad sign for Honda. Having owned Toyota products that were promoted as "bullet proof" and then watching them mishandle PR surrounding recalls, it won't be long before something similar befalls Honda. Reputations are hard earned and easily tarnished when companies resolve to put their heads in the sand and pretend all is well in the face of a major issue like this. Hard to believe that any dealership wouldn't be well versed in this transmission issue if they're selling and servicing Accura's. Too many complaints and failures to simply be a case of bad luck.
  • Before you dunp the vehicle, go back to the dealership, tell them about this blog and you know for a fact that Acura will pay 90% replacement cost if they call the CA office. If they refuse, find another dealer or file a complaint with the BBB.

    At this stage, you may have to replace the tranny before you can sell it. Whatever the outcome of who is paying for it, buy a Ford next time. We will when we are ready for another vehicle, no more Acuras for us, even though our dealer paid 90%. Acura showed us their "bad side" on this deal.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    150,000 miles, you should consider yourself lucky. The VTM-4 system used in the early models was undoubtedly a bit too "robust" for the otherwise light duty transaxle. It appears that switching to the SH-AWD system in the later models alleviated the problem.....or maybe it was just re-programming of the firmware to make less use of the rear drive aspects.
  • Brian,

    If you realllllly want to shove it to Acura, you should start by starting a class action lawsuit which all of us will participate in.

    Acura will only listen to attorneys(theirs or ours) doesn't matter. Your letter won't make it past the mail room where the clerk will piss on it and throw it in the trash bin.
  • Thanks for weighing in. I agree with all of the comments passed on.
    JSlivon- thanks for the suggestion. I appreciate the advice and will follow up and update you on their reaction ( which while I hate being cynical, believing that a car dealership will do the right thing is like expecting politicians to tell the truth.)
    WWest- yeah given the experience of others one has to wonder how we made it this far. I am however appalled at the number of people on this site who have experienced the same failure with a fraction of the miles???!! How does a $45,000 luxury vehicle sell with that track record? Further, I'd be EXCEPTIONALLY skeptical of buying a "used" one. You'd think that if more people were aware of the MDX's transmission track record that their resale value would be severely discounted. Specifically I'd have to believe a private party sale would be a lot tougher to make since there is no recourse if the vehicle fails once it exchanges hands. And it's highly likely that even a good mechanic or dealership that was paid to assess it's condition wouldn't detect pending transmission failure.
    I know a lot of car buyers who save a fair bit of $$$ being the 2nd owner of reliable higher end
    vehicles, but obviously experience would eliminate the MDX from that category.
    DC1225- I'm actually surprised that Accura has been able to avoid litigation on this issue given how many complaints I've read. Is it because they just lie their way out of it by denying culpability on their part and footing the bill for only the most egregious cases to try and prevent more bad PR???
  • washingtongcwashingtongc Posts: 1
    edited September 2011
    I have a 2008 MDX Tech with 32,000 miles and occasionally encountered the dreaded shudder at 35mph around town as early as a year ago or so. This behavior began to surface with more regularity recently and (tired of punching the gas pedal to arrest the shudder), took it to the dealer last Thursday to let them have a look-see. Naturally, they needed me to demonstrate the shudder with a tech and wouldnchaknowit I was unable to demonstrate it. Dejected and headed back to the dealer, the tech mentioned that this wasn't an uncommon complaint among MDX owners and that he'd look at it but suggested I leave it for the day.

    Well, 2 hours later the dealer calls and--whoopeee!--confirms the shudder and faults the torque converter (all covered under the factory 6yr powertrain warranty) and that I am to keep my loaner (a 2011 MDX, btw) until they can source the part and intall it. I got it back yesterday and I absolutely love my MDX more than before it that's even possible. The dealership here in the DC, Rosenthal Acura, couldn't have been more professional. I've got no complaints here. The service advisor called with daily updates and even offered to take me back to the service bay as work was progressing; an offer I took him up on (I'm lame, I know) and let me tell you, this type of first-person open-heart surgery is not for the faint of, ahem, heart. It kinda takes your breath away. I walked away never to return again to the sausage factory.

    It's crazy, too, because I was expecting an ordeal judging by the numerous posts this longstanding topic. I'm happy to report here happy times! I wish this karma on everyone else here and your beloved MDXs. True Story.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    2008...32,000 miles...Now that's worrisome.

    Unless you make highly regular use, high TORQUE use, if the rear wheel drive aspects of the SH-AWD system.

    Off-road, dirt/gravel road..?

  • What are you so happy about? That you got the warranty at 32k which should be normally covered? That they gave you a loaner? That your tranny/tc only lasted 32k? we'll see how happy you are when in another 32k you'll need a brand new tranny. You'll probably be doing quadriple double dragon flips by then I'm sure.
  • I have a 2002 with 117K miles that has a mild case of the shudder/vibration issue. I talked to a co-worker who also has a MDX and he said his also has had the issue for the past 50K miles and his car now has 170K miles. He had extensive discussions with the dealer about it and one time a service person was very open about the problem. He was told that eventually he should replace the torque converter and transmission but only when the issue gets too annoying to deal with. It's not something you need to take action on immediately once the symptoms start. Apparently after 50K miles it hasn't gotten to this point yet. So my strategy will also be to wait and see. I only need to get a couple more years out of the car and the symptoms for me are not severe nor very frequent. I might experience it once during a day while driving and it's more of a noise issue - I don't notice much vibration or power loss. If you want to get another 100K from your car, then it may make strategic sense to do the work sooner than later. For me, I only need to get another 20K so I'm going to wait and see. Supposedly the rest of the car is solid and will make it to 200K without problem.
  • I cannot access the link. It does not work. I replaced the torque converter last November. Now my transmission wont shift. How do I join the lawsuit?
  • washingtondc,

    I bought my certified one from Rosenthal too, but took it to Pohanka Acura for service. I think I need to take it to Rosenthal. Any one at the dealership you recommend I talk to?

  • Hi,

    I posted some weeks ago regarding judder in the transmission and unstable RPMs in our 2010 MDX after only 25k miles. Bottom line is that we had the torque converter replaced and the SW upgraded for more smooth shifting. I CANNOT BELIEVE THE CHANGE... The car now runs like the luxury car it is and the ride is amazing. I put up some YouTube videos of the original problem and others have done that too. Bottom line, get that torque converter replaced, and second, get that SW updated, at least on your 2010 and newer (I believe the SW was released in July 2011 so ask for it for the next service).

    Good luck!
  • So glad I found this. We bought an 08 MDX 4 weeks ago with 71k miles. All is perfect except for a grinding noise I can hear around 40 MPH and the same shutter/jitter when shifting from 2nd to 3rd or 3rd to 4th (I believe). Also have the same RPM jumping around when over 40MPH or so. We have only put 500 miles on the car so far. Not that I am glad to have an issue with it, but at least I can see the write ups here the videos you posted. Note, my RPM jumping is more than what I saw in video. Going to finish gathering info, maybe record a video and head back to Acura. Wonder what response I am going to get. probably print out some detail like this too. What specific item was had the software updated? What it the main unit or the transmission??? I know I will catch slack for buying an 08 with 71k on it but this is my 3rd Acura, (91 Integra/RIP, current 04 TL with 120k, and now this). Integra was redlined 3 to 20 times a day for 5 years, only issue was AC compressor, had 144k when totaled in wreck. TL is not pushed so hard but is (older now) and perfect! I got the MDX loaded with Navi-Tech pk for $23k and do have a 12k powertrain warr, will see if it helps me. Wish me luck.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    Take it to a dealer and have them replace the torque converter...don't leave the dealership til they do.

    Glad to see that Acura still has not fixed the problem stemming from back in 2001.
  • We only had the torque converter replaced, not the entire transmission.

    With regards to the SW you need to ask the dealership. Ours is a 2010 and thus with the six speed transmission, and I believe 07-09 are five speed. Anyhow, the service technician will be able to check if there's an upgrade available or not.

    Good luck!
  • mdxer7mdxer7 Posts: 8
    I own a 2001 MDX (bought new) and the transmission was replaced after approx 105K miles by the dealer - covered by the warranty. Even though it was slightly over the mileage (I had purchased the extended warranty). I had all PM done by the dealer (who has been great) and they were able to have the new trans covered. Ok..2011 and I now have 210K miles and have once again been experiencing transmission issues (actually started around 200K). I knew the symptoms well. Time for a new car/suv.

    Well, I feel I got my monies worth and have thoroughly enjoyed own/driving the MDX. I was going to buy another (this time used) MDX having read that the transmission issues were supposedly taken care of w/the new model in 2007. But this forum makes me wonder..... If you had it to do over...would you buy your 2007 or older over again? If not...what SUV would you buy?

    Any thoughts on the Lexus RX350?

  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    When we replace our 2003 MDX, it will be a Ford or Hundai but not an Acura. There are too many complaints about Acura in this forum. I think Honda has developed a reputation of poor quaility and bad customer service, very similar to what got Ford in trouble years ago. They now are the car company for the future.

    Also on your 2001 MDX, you probobly have two broken motor mounts and the lower front balljoints are shot.
  • mdxer7mdxer7 Posts: 8
    Funny you mention the motor mounts & balljoints -- replaced many miles ago.
  • drbobkdrbobk Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 MDX bought new. After 5 years and only 30,000 miles, the transmission started shuddering when shifting, and Acura replaced it (rebuilt it) under warranty. Now, at about 65,000 miles, it's happening again. I just called the dealer to see if Acura was covering these under warranty even though it's out of warranty, and the service writer told me that transmissions on the MDX are not a recurring problem. My experience - and that of hundreds in this forum - indicates otherwise. I'm bringing it in next week, and we'll see how they deal with it. But this is twice in 65,000 miles. I don't drive it hard, and in fact try to drive it economically. Maybe that's the problem, since some of these posts indicate that hitting the gas hard eliminates the shuddering. This is my second Acura, and I kept the first for 7 years (and only 35,000 miles) without a single maintenance issue. How they treat this one determines how I feel about a third Acura.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You may wish to note that almost every manufacturer that has tried to make a silk purse (Actual AWD) from a sow's ear (FWD SUV[***]) has had problems with the initial implementation. It is not a simple matter to leave the front diff'l SOLIDLY driven (a MUST) and have the rear drive come online "solidly", or even semi-solidly "at will".

    Having both front and rear "solidly" driven will ALWAYS result in extreme stress on the drivetrain and tires.....


    The MDX was switched to the SH-AWD system for this very reason.

    *** RX300, Escape/Mariner, MDX, etc.
  • WOW! didnt realize how big of an issue this is. Acrua keeps a tight lid on this matter i see. I just purchased a 09 mdx with tech, 12k miles for $32,000 last weekend. I was not not aware of this AT ALL. I am still under the factory warranty for another 2 1/2 half years. my question is should I take it to acura now and avoid any future headaches? because the car is still a baby and I am hoping I really dont start having issues in the near future. so far I am loving the car (granted I only had the car for a week) I know a few MDX owners and havent heard any complains from any of them. Thats the reason why I decided purchase the car but I've been reading a lot of discomforting comments and I must say I am feeling a little uneasy about my decision. please, any advice would be appreciate.

    BTW I purchased the car from Paragon Acura in NYC
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Reliability since 2004 has been pretty good, per Identifix. This is a "problems" discussion so people who aren't having issues are less likely to post.

    Enjoy the new ride!
  • I have leased MDXs since they first came out. I recently bought out my 2007 vehicle at the end of my lease since I loved the car, had no problems with it and the residual value was a reasonable deal and I was way over in miles. Have gotten all routine maintenance and changed transmission fluid when recommended. Weird grinding sound when decelerating on exit ramps started a couple of months ago but nothing that was impacting my driving. Driving mostly highway miles currently at 81K. Out of the blue yesterday started shuddering and rumbling when car goes over 40 mph. No way you could drive it like that. After looking at the numerous transmission complaints, looks like I have joined the ranks Acuras with bad transmissions. I guess I am out of warranty at 70K. Any ideas on getting them to cover this? Thank you.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    This may help:

    The Secret Warranty
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Make your dealer call the Acura home office in CA. They should pay at least 90% of the replacement cost ($4,500 total cost for an Acura rebuilt transmission). Tell them about this blog and you know they are defective.

    If they won't do it, file a complaint with BBB. If they still refuse, go to another dealer. They may help in an attempt to get all your future business. But the bottom line is that if all this fails, you are screwed. if you contact a lawyer, you will get double screwed.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It begins to sound as if my advice on modification applies even to the MDXes with the SH-AWD system. Add a toggle switch to open the electrics that drive the rear clutch engagement circuits unless a true need for AWD functionality exists, KNOWN need.

    Driving both rear wheels along with at least one front wheel on a highly tractive surface even only for/during acceleration begins to look like a BAD idea. Accumulative effects of the stress/heat takes its toll in the long term.
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